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W.A.S.P. Biography

Home > Music > W > W.A.S.P. > Biography

Birth Place: Los Angeles, California, United States
Years Active: 1982-present
Genres: Heavy Metal, Hard Rock, Shock Rock, Glam Metal

W.A.S.P. is an American band that arrived on the Los Angeles heavy metal music scene in 1982. The original lineup consisted of Blackie Lawless, Randy Piper, Rik Fox and Tony Richards. The band hit the peak of their success in mid to late 1980s, but has maintained a steady career over the years and continues to record and release new music, in addition to performing live.

Fox was the first to leave the band and was replaced by Don Costa, who also quit within the space of a year. Lawless took over bass duties with guitarist Chris Holmes joining the band in 1984. 1984 also saw W.A.S.P. sign to Capitol Records and release their self-titled debut album. It spawned the hit single, “I Wanna Be Somebody.” The band shot to fame for their shock value antics on stage and built up an eclectic and loyal following.

The band's second offering, 1985’s “The Last Command,” went on to become the band's highest charting album, peaking at #47 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart. 1985 also saw the band go through two line-up changes with their drummer, in addition to guitarist Randy Piper leaving the band.

Johnny Rod joined W.A.S.P. as they embarked on their third album, 1986’s “Inside the Electric Circus.” W.A.S.P.'s 1989 fifth album, “The Headless Children,” peaked at #48 on the Billboard 200.

Holmes departed the band later that year, followed by the band dismantling. Lawless embarked on a solo career. W.A.S.P. reunited in 1996 with the return of Holmes later that same year. One year later they released 1997’s “Kill.Fuck.Die” with “Helldorado” following in 1999.

The band continued with the album “Unholy Terror” in 2001. Holmes left the band once again in 2002. “Dying for the World,” released later in 2002, was written and recorded in less than one year. Its liner notes featured one of Lawless' strongest statements about political correctness, inspired by the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Early 2006 saw the seemingly stable lineup fall apart. Long-time session and tour drummer Stet Howland left first. In May, the departure of guitarist Darrell Roberts, who went on to join the band Five Finger Death Punch, was announced and new guitar player Mark Zavon was brought in several days before the first tour date. The same press release confirmed Mike Dupke, would be the new drummer. Furthermore, two days later, Zavon was out of the picture as well, seeing Doug Blair step in on guitar.

A new album, “Dominator” was planned for release in October 2006, according to a statement made by Blackie Lawless at a tour stop in Kavarna. He then went on to play a new song from the album, entitled “Mercy.” A few weeks later, the release of the album was postponed until April 2007.

In April 2004, W.A.S.P. released the first part of The Neon God, subtitled “The Rise,” a conceptual album about an abused and orphaned boy who finds that he has the ability to read and manipulate people. The second part, “The Demise,” was released in September 2004. W.A.S.P. released their next studio album, entitled “Babylon” in late 2009, via Demolition Records.